Before I tell you about today's recipe, let me mention a local restaurant. Farmer's Gastropub is delicious, the people are friendly, and the roommates and I have decided this is our new place. They use local farmers and stores to provide their food, which I think is pretty fantastic. Check them out. You'll be supporting a local business and local farmers. It's a win-win for everyone. Plus, you'll eat some seriously tasty food in one of the best atmospheres I've seen in a restaurant. And if you want to invite me along, I'm in.
Now, friends, it's cold outside. Not as cold as it has been, but it's far from warm. To all of you in warm climates...I have nothing to say to you. Mostly because I'm jealous. Of course, I am getting some great use out of my new, super warm coat, so I guess that's a good thing. Anyway, when the temps drop, I think soup. I usually think Campbell's tomato soup and grilled cheese.
A few weeks ago, Giada made a tomato soup that caught my eye. It looked promising, easy, and was perfect for my first recipe of 2011.
And away we go...
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 onion, peeled and chopped
* 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 15-ounce can cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
* 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
* 3 cups chicken broth
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, plus 1 teaspoon, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2/3 cup creme fraiche
* Zest of one lemon
In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Add the beans, tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, covered.
Puree the soup in a blender in batches, being careful to remove and discard the bay leaf. Return the soup to a soup pot and keep warm over low heat. Season with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl fold in the lemon zest and the remaining teaspoon of rosemary to 2/3 cup creme fraiche. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and dollop each bowl with the lemon rosemary creme fraiche. Serve immediately.
Note: I skipped the rosemary because I'm not a big fan of rosemary and I skipped the fraiche because I didn't want it. The soup is really filling and tasty without it. If you decide to try it, I'm sure you'll love it. I have faith in Giada. Something tells me things are going to work out for that girl.
Guess what? Baby carrots were cheaper, so they won yesterday. Bonus: they're already peeled! Take that grown-up carrots!
Repeat after me: The bay leaf goes in, the bay leaf comes out. Do this BEFORE you put it in the food processor. It'll save you a headache or two.
You can make the soup as chunky or fine as you'd like. I wanted some texture, so I didn't blend it too long. The bread? It's a garlic bread and it works splendidly with the soup.